Honorary Consul, Stripped of Citizenship
03 November, 2011
Honorary Consul, Stripped of Citizenship

Lasha Darbaidze, the Honorary Consul of Georgia to the United States, has been dismissed by the Authorities after stripping him of Georgian citizenship. The incident became known only a day or so ago. The only official argument is that he allegedly was not fulfilling his tasks. Lasha Darbaidze himself says he fell victim to political persecution and links it to the Ivanishvili’s photo on his Facebook page.

The statement about dismissal of Lasha Darbaidze was made by Deputy Foreign Minister Nino Kalandadze.

She argued that honorable consuls are supposed to behave in the best interests of Georgia.

“Foreign Affairs Ministry conducts periodic monitoring of diplomats and honorable consuls to check how duly are they doing their jobs and meeting conditions of labor agreements. In this particular case too, the decision was made after a comprehensive examination.  Any consul can be going this way should they violate terms and conditions of their employment,” – stated Kalandadze.

As for Lasha Darbaidze, he explains that the Authorities demanded from him to remove the photos of Bidzina Ivanishvili from his Facebook page but met his refusal. He recalls that the Georgian Authorities sent him a man who met him in America on 24 October. This messenger delivered to him the demand that he should take down the photos depicting the meeting of American Ambassador John Baas and Bidzina Ivanishvili.

“I resisted and refused to delete the photos. It took just one day for them to terminate my contract. When I asked why I should remove the photos they replied that they enjoy a wild popularity in the Georgian Diaspora and hence our interest in this person would have a very adverse effect on the people and could have given rise to undesirable processes,” – said Lasha Darbaidze.

Interestingly, earlier they terminated his Georgian citizenship through the relevant Presidential decree published on 4 October. The decree explained that he had a citizenship of another country and had to be stripped of Georgian citizenship.

Darbaidze says he acquired American citizenship 1.5 year ago and that the Authorities were well aware of the fact. This is why the Governmental move looks suspicious to him.

“They terminated my citizenship in two days after they did the same to Bidzina Ivanishvili. I don’t know why such a coincidence,” – exclaims Lasha Darbaidze.

Lasha Darbaidze lives in the United States since 1999. He is engaged in business there. In 2004 he became the President of Saint George Fund. In 2010 he received American citizenship and became the Honorary Consul of Georgia. It is noteworthy that in June 2011, Imedi Heroes - one of periodic programs of the Government-controlled TV channel Imedi – was dedicated to him with an accent on his success and voluntarism.


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